Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Record 65.6 mn people displaced worldwide, says UN

Conflicts in Syria and South Sudan have dramatically driven up numbers.

A report from the United Nations refugee agency found 65.6 million people were displaced from their homes past year.

The number of displaced people in the world has nearly doubled in 20 years, according to a report released today by the United Nations' refugee agency.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, said: "By any measure this [the number of refugees is] an unacceptable number, and it speaks louder than ever to the need for solidarity and common objective in preventing and resolving crises, and ensuring together that the world's refugees, internally displaced and asylum seekers are properly protected and cared for while solutions are pursued".

The hoping that the striking number of displaced people would encourage wealthy countries to rethink their strategy, according to the BBC - not just in terms of accepting refugees, but also by contributing to reconstruction and promoting peace.

Along with the 6.3 million Syrians displaced inside the country, these numbers show that a almost two thirds of all Syrians have been forced from their homes, the report said.

About half of the refugee population last year were children younger than 18 years of age, according the report. "At the same time, they are not adequately funding reception of refugees in poor host countries", Egeland said.

Turkey was the country hosting the largest number of refugees in the world, with 3.1 million, followed by Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Pakistan.

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Syria's six-year civil war remained the largest single cause of displacement, with 12 million people followed by some 7.7 million Colombians, 4.7 million Afghans, 4.2 million Iraqis and 3.3 million South Sudanese.

But the UN Refugee Agency says this should not deter governments from taking concrete action today.

"The report, which records statistics at the end of 2016 indicates [that] 1.4 million refugees from South Sudan [are] in neighboring countries and nearly two million internally displaced people", said Grandi. "But, Lebanon, another one of the neighboring countries, is the country that has the highest per capita ratio compared to the local population in terms of the number of refugees".

In South Sudan to launch the UNHCR's annual refugee report, Grandi said his agency had already worked there for decades, helping hundreds of thousands fleeing the territory's long wars with Khartoum.

However, UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi warned against viewing this as a positive trend, pointing out that the total of 65.6 million is larger than the population of Britain.

"Tragically, 75,000 asylum claims were received from children travelling alone or separated from their parent". Only Syria witnessed a larger number of new refugees at 824,000.

The global body, in a statement, said nations must "share the responsibility for protecting refugees, assisting host communities and providing robust support".

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